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Benchmark Reviews Editors Choice Awards 2009 E-mail
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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
Benchmark Reviews Editors Choice Awards 2009
Best in Class: Accessories
Best in Class: Cases
Best in Class: Cooling
Best in Class: Motherboards
Best in Class: Network Storage
Best in Class: Processors
Best in Class: Data Storage
Best in Class: Video Cards
2009 Editors Choice Awards

Best in Class: Enthusiast CPU

Awarded: AMD X4-965 Black Edition 125W Processor

When we discuss enthusiasts in relation to the processor industry, there's only one real focus we're referring to: overclocking. And when you're looking to overclock a processor without restrictions, there's really only two choices: one that costs $999.99 for the privilege of an unlocked clock multiplier, or the AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE with all of the same unlocked features for a mere $185. Tough choice, right?

While the AMD X4-965 Black Edition may not compete well against Intel Core i7 processors in terms of workstation performance when measured with CAD/CAM applications, the enthusiast segment is more concerned with high clock speeds and overclocking results than they are with drawing wire-frames in AutoCAD. Benchmark Reviews confirmed that gaming performance is actually better with the X4-965 when compared to the Intel Core i5-750, which shares the same price-point. For the pure enthusiast excitement of unrestricted overclocking with outstanding gaming performance, Benchmark Reviews offers our Editor's Choice Award to the AMD X4-965 Black Edition CPU.


Best in Class: Workstation CPU

Awarded: Intel Core i5-750 Processor

Workstation computers are used in businesses for their power and stability, helping applications like AutoCAD or Maya perform in real-time. When Benchmark Reviews tested the Intel Core i5-750 Processor there had already been a long list of suitable alternatives from Intel. However, for the value the LGA-1156 socket offered excellent processing power on the Intel P55-Express platform. Surely Intel's enthusiast-driven Core i7 LGA1366 series could also work well in the business sector if the cost of the X58-Express platform wasn't an issue, but for only $199.99 you get nearly the same real-world performance with all same benefits of quad-core computing and Turbo Boost Technology.


Honorable Mention: Intel Core i7-860

Intel originally launched the Core i7 processor series with the X58-Express 'enthusiast' chipset. While the LGA1366/X58 platform made waves for almost a year, mainstream consumers and performance-savvy businesses had to wait for the LGA1156 Core-i7/i5. It may seem strange to award the slower Core-i5 processor, and only give honorable mention to the LGA-1156 Core i7 series, it's necessary to understand the market segments they compete in. The LGA1156 socket is a mainstream part made for the mainstream P55 platform, and priced at $549.99 the Intel Core i7-870 Processor is much closer to enthusiast pricing. Alternatively, the Core i7-860 offers all the same features and functionality for $279.99 and is worth the honorable mention.

Best in Class: Value CPU

Awarded: AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE

We've already bestowed our Editor's Choice for AMD's X4 965 Black Edition for its purely enthusiast features and functionality, so it makes perfect sense that the AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE Processor that earned our Golden Tachometer Award be considered for the best value in desktop processors. Priced at a mere $99.99, the AMD Phenom II X2-550 BE shares the same unlocked clock multiplier as the X4-965, but is a dual-core version with lower speed. On the merit of price alone this product is noteworthy, but adding the most desired of enthusiast features has earned the AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE our 2009 Editor's Choice Award.


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